Learning to code is as simple as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with this experiment kit from Thames & Kosmos.
With the Kids First Coding & Robotics STEM experiment kit, kids can build, code, and learn computer, math, and coding skills with the help of Sammy and friends. By building and coding robots, kids gain an introduction to STEM and coding practices of sequences, loops, events, conditionals, functions, and variables.
No computer or tablet is needed to code, just use the included set of cards and card frames and watch the robot’s memory recall your desired pattern of movement.
To start, you’ll need to build the bots before you can tell their stories through coding sequences. The instructions detail the multiple stories that kids can build with the kit and then use to program the bot to run a new sequence. Using the included pieces and instructions, kids will build Sammy the PB&J, Hammy the hamburger, and Franky the hot dog using the small blocks. In another story, kids can build Robbie the soccer player and program his games and adventures or a robotic fire truck on a mission through built obstacle courses.
Sammy sits atop the battery-powered robot that acts as his brain. Power him up with three AA batteries and start programming. To program Sammy, kids set five directional cards (in a logical order) in the gray-colored frame and boot up him up by pressing the play button. Within seconds, if your code is in a correct order, the code is set in his memory. Sammy can store up to three codes in his memory. To restore, hit the delete button or turn the PB&J bot off and back on for new patterns. If at any point the bot cannot complete the code, a red light will flash alongside an error sound for kids to reposition the sequence in a logical order that Sammy can comprehend.
Once the code is set, Sammy is ready to map the programmed code on your included map tiles. It may take a few minutes to calibrate his location. For best results, make sure the bot is positioned directly in the center of the glossy green start tile. It may take time to accurately determine his location and the path once on and sit in the start position, however, once you hear a song begin to play, he is calibrated and ready to begin. He’ll mark the path on his own, following the code kids already set up in the gray frame.
Kids can follow the lessons instructed in their manual to build Sammy and the other creatures using the blocks. Each lesson has included directional map cards and a set the code runs to follow the stories.
In another mode, kids can use the robotic base to teach math lessons in a different operating mode from program-and-map coding modes from the previous activities. When you program the bot, the goal is to solve math equations, where the bot’s code is the proper sequence of the math problem. Math problems to solve include sorting cubes by color, value, in sequence, and to add up the sum total.
Cutie PB&J Sammy sure makes learning about math and coding fun and exciting! Except, now I’m hungry for a real peanut butter and jelly sandwich—oops, sorry, Sammy.